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Trip through your MP3s with Playlost

This fun, free Java app displays your music library as a randomized hexagonal grid and lets you create playlists by drawing connections between nodes.

If you're bored with building playlists in iTunes or other music players, a simple free application called Playlost displays all the MP3s in your music library as a randomized hexagonal grid in your Web browser. Then, you can create playlists by connecting adjacent nodes.

Screenshot of Playlost
Playlost displays your collection as a hexagonal grid, then lets you build playlists by drawing connections between the nodes. Screenshot

The app comes in a ZIP file with two components. First you have to run the Library Scanner, a Java application. It took about 30 seconds to scan my entire library, and found about 400 MP3 files. One word of caution: if you rip your CDs in iTunes, they're probably in the MPEG-4 (.m4a) format, and Playlost won't recognize them--or any other file format, for that matter.

Once you're done scanning, open the Playlost Viewer, which is an HTML file, in the browser of your choice, and you'll see all your MP3s laid out before you like a giant black-and-blue beehive. (The viewer uses Adobe's Flash technology, and you might get a security warning. If so, click the "Settings" button and add the Playlost viewer's file location to the safe list.) Select any song and it'll start playing. Then, you can click any of the six adjacent songs to begin building a playlist. A small set of playback controls lets you stop, resume, and move to any point in the song.

I had a lot of fun navigating through my library this way, and found it surprisingly easy to build a coherent playlist with only a handful of "next song" choices at any given time.

(Hat tip: Indie Music Tech)